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Saving Money on Shampoo?

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I know I shouldn’t admit this – heck, its bad enough you know how in debt I am! – but…

I don’t wash my hair very often. I wash my hair no more than twice per week… and sometimes, not even that much.

My naturally curly hair can’t handle it – that and I’d rather spend the extra hour it takes to dry my locks doing ‘productive’ things like sleeping.

But I’ve always felt lonely in my non-washing world. It’s a secretive place. No one particularly likes to hear on a Friday morning that I haven’t washed my hair since Thursday… of last week. I’d start immersing my hair in fragrant shampoo if people seemed at all put off but I have just the opposite reaction – people compliment my hair on a regular basis.

Apparently, there is a growing trend called the ‘No-poo movement’. Nope, didn’t make that up. Someone really thought ‘poo’ and ‘movement’ was a good combo. The movement is fueled by eco-conscious folks as a way to help the environment by reducing chemical usage and plastic waste but…

All I can think is, ‘woo hoo! Another way to save a buck.’ And I’m sure all you are thinking is, ‘Wow, her penny pinching ways have taken her off the deep end.’

But, give it some thought or give it a try. Let me know how it turns out!

Learn more about the ‘No Poo Movement’ at:
NPR
MSNBC
Glamour


41 Comments

  • Reply E.D. |

    “No poo” is a life saver for people with curly hair. I wash my hair twice a week with a gentle shampoo and use styling products that can be removed easily to prevent buildup.

  • Reply Mysti |

    As a person with stick straight, fine hair….no-poo doesn’t work for me. In less than 24 hrs, my hair is so flat and greasy looking. At 48 hrs, I start looking like Snape from Harry Potter, and any more than that is down right scary!

  • Reply Inky |

    I wash my hair once a week. It’s better on my hair and cost/time effective. Using a boar bristle brush is great for moving scalp oils to the ends of your hair.

  • Reply debtfree2b |

    I too have naturally curly hair and we are not supposed to wash our hair everyday because the chemicals in the shampoo messes with our curly locks. I do put conditioner in it everyday, but I only wash with shampoo, maybe 2-3 times a month.

  • Reply TJ |

    You’re definitely not alone. I wash my hair once a week… if that. (I know, I know, *gasp* and all that.)

    My hair is VERY frizzy and curly, and takes me about 2~3 hours to fully style. I have a LOT of hair. Like, “Oh-My-Goodness-That’s-a-lot-of-hair”-says-the-stylist” lot of hair, and get told that every time I go in for a cut at a new salon or with a new stylist. My hair actually looks better on the second and third and fourth day, and even up to the 6th, but after the 9th, it starts to decay FAST. Almost overnight.

    So no, you’re not alone. I’ve heard of people that just re-condition their hair and skip the shampoo’ing, but I don’t think that messing a lot with your hair will cut a lot from the budget. (Washing once a day, for me, is more than enough.) Especially not if you’re trading it for bad hair days.

  • Reply Jen |

    I’m not that phased by you not washing your hair that often. My mother and late grandmother got their hair done once a week. Plus, I’ve heard that washing your hair every day is bad for it – it strips your hair of its natural oils.

    For me, I hate not washing my hair because usually by the second day my head begins to itch. Also, I have wavy, thick hair that can get bed heard. If I don’t wash it in the morning then I can’t make it look presentable for work. The only time I may skip the shower is when my hair is long enough to put up in a pony tail. As for the cost of grooming, a hair dresser once told me that I don’t need to use conditioner, so I stopped buying the shampoo-conditioner combos, and now I jusy buy plain old J&J baby shampoo. I do, however, treat my hair once a week with one of those super conditioners. I noticed that if I do that I don’t get nearly as many split ends so I can go longer between hair cuts.

    I think everyone’s hair is different, and each person has to find what works for him or her.

  • Reply Heather |

    I’m another curly headed gal. I wash my hair/shower 3 days a week. MWF to maximize the cleanliness for the office.

    I do however, only shampoo my daughters’ hair once a week unless something gets into it.

  • Reply Caitlin |

    I shampoo once a week.

    If anyone is thinking of reducing the amount of shampoo use (for financial, environmental, or personal reasons), remember this: there is a transition period.

    Needing to shampoo every day is (usually) a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you shampoo every day, you’ll practically have to shampoo every day because your scalp will try to replenish your natural skin oils daily.

    You can’t go from shampooing everyday to shampooing once a week. Your scalp doesn’t work that way. If it’s used to being stripped of naturally-occurring skin oils every day (by the shampoo), it’s also used to producing more oil quickly to replace it every day. This means you need to gradually lengthen the time between your shampoos, and for most people that have showered daily since elementary school, it can take weeks of funny hair to make the adjustment. Hats and scarves are your friend!

    Some people get lucky and can go from shampooing daily to shampooing weekly (or less) without and crazy oily hair days, but keep in mind that it’s normal to not be that lucky.

  • Reply Isela |

    I have long , straight and black hair that used to be very oily until I started the No Poo challenge.
    Now I can go 3 days w/o washing and just looks wonderful.
    The process takes almost 3 months , in which you basically retrain your scalp to stop making so much oil.

  • Reply Dolly |

    I also don’t wash my hair every day and sometimes not even every week, but I am African American. This frequency of hair washing is more common among African Americans. This is probably because in some sense we have the curliest hair. Given your ultra conservative political views and discussions about country white folks I assume you don’t know many African Americans. I would just ask you to remember that we too have interests in money saving and keep the racial/political remarks to a minimum. This will help a broader audience feel welcome and focus the discussion on what we have in common – being money savy.

    Happy Hair Washing and thanks for keeping an interesting blog!

  • Reply Aurora The Diva In Training |

    I am also a Black woman and only wash my hair twice a week. I know White women with curly hair who only wash twice a week as well.

    I think it just goes with the texture of your hair as well. The very straight hair might need to be washed more often because it tends to get oily faster. Curly hair tends to dry out quicker so we only need to wash about twice a week.

  • Reply Jenn |

    Don’t feel so alone. I used to have very long, thick hair. I washed my hair maybe every 4-days. It was usually around the 3rd and 4th day that I really loved the look. I hated the look on wash day. And, I had several friends who went days between washings, too.

    Then, chemo took my hair and recovery (6 years cancer free!) gave me back fine, thin hair that I’ve tried not washing every day. The result unfortunately, is a grease ball head of yuck. When I was bald I promised the universe I’d never complain about a bad hair day, and actually, bad hair days now serve as reminders that I’m glad to have hair. BUT, oh how I miss the thick hair that didn’t require daily washing.

  • Reply Jean |

    Wow, @Dolly, that was out of left field! I had to go back & read the post again b/c I didn’t remember any racial/political remarks. And guess what – there weren’t any!! While I’m glad that you find Beks’ posts interesting, keep in mind that it’s her blog – meaning that she can say whatever she wants to say, however she wants to say it. I’m sure Beks doesn’t mean to come across as offensive or non-inclusive, but even if she did, you have a choice – as we all do – to read it or find another personal finance blog that’s less offensive to you.

  • Reply Jen |

    @Dolly: I’d like to know what ultra-conservative views you’ve seen on this blog, and what other aspects would alienate African Americans. I’m not looking to argue with you, btw. I am genuinely curious, and I would like to be better at being inclusive.

  • Reply Nichole |

    I can go one day without shampooing, but only if I use a dry shampoo. This is a little tough to do since I’m brunette and the dry shampoos are a white powder. Plus, they are really expensive. I have seen some articles online about how to make your own dry shampoo. I haven’t tried it. I guess I’m not all that worried about it.

    Dolly – You’re nuts! I’ve never read anything on here that should have offended anyone (except of course, your comment).

  • Reply Honey |

    I have very curly hair also, and use shampoo once a week and conditioner maybe twice a week. The rest of the time, I wet it (maybe put in some cheapie leave-in conditioner) and re-style.

    Mostly I do this because my stylist tells me it is the best way to care for my type of hair. However, it’s also cost-effective since I pay $35 for an 8-oz bottle of shampoo and $55 for an 80-oz bottle of conditioner. I have tried lots of other products, but Kerastase works so much better there is simply no comparison. If I use something cheaper then I do have to use more product more often, and it ends up costing more in the end.

  • Reply Sarah |

    Most women I know only was theirs every 2-4 days. My hair is so oily though I have to wash it every day. I tried to change to every-other day but I just couldn’t get it to adapt. I tried for 9 months and it never happened.

  • Reply Lisa |

    I have stick straight hair but ended up with a beautiful curly haired daughter. Not knowing how to take care of it, I found the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. She talks about no-poo within her book and it literally saved me from ruining my daughter’s hair. She looked like a ragamuffin because I kept shampooing her hair thinking that would help. Once I started condition only washing, her hair really changed. She has these beautiful ringlets now. Even better, the cheapest conditioners are lacking the abrasive elements that damage her hair, so those are the ones I buy now (for less than a dollar a bottle!) You can also check out http://www.naturallycurly.com. There is a wealth of info there that enlightened me.

  • Reply Honey |

    I assume Dolly is referring to the “redneck party” post, which I also found shockingly classist AND racist. Skoal, Wal-Mart, and CONFEDERATE FLAGS?!

  • Reply Jen |

    @Honey – Thanks. I very vaguely remember something about that…. But not the specifics. And now I’m embarrassed I wasn’t taken aback when I read it, assuming I read it… It’s possible the I heard the phrase “redneck party” somewhere else and my memory is just playing tricks on me 😛 I’ll try to look for it tonight.

  • Reply Honey |

    If you click on the “parties” category it is there, I think that category only has a couple entries.

  • Reply Mary |

    I thought the redneck thing was funny – there ARE people in this country that eat squirrel, watch Nascar, and live in house trailers. It’s just part of the beauty of our country, folks. Deal with it.

    I work with a lady born in my own state (Michigan) and she speaks with the most southern accent you’d ever want to hear, and her name is Raemilee (can’t get much more southern than that, either!) but she was born 15 miles from where I was. She’s not southern, but somewhere inside she thinks she is!

    It’s the differences in people in the United States that makes us a great country – we should accept them, laugh at them if we find it funny, and not take it all so damn personally.

    I laugh at women who shop at Macy’s, pay $200 for a haircut and carry $500 coach purses, too (I’m an equal-opportunity snob, I guess…LOL!)

  • Reply mem |

    I don’t understand why this is a big deal or something to be embarrassed about. American’s are might be the only people on the planet who was their hair as much as they do. Any top stylist will tell you to wash your hair as little as you can get away with – it strips the hair of moisture, dulls color, etc. It’s also the standard advice in most beauty columns. Often people with oily hair – who think they can’t go more than a day without washing – are making it worse by washing so much. Their scalp just produces more oil to compensate for having it stripped away. They can find interesting articles online suggesting that people with fine or oily hair start shampooing much less often, that they will have to deal with a couple of weeks of their hair being gross while the scalp adjusts, and then your hair will be less oily overall and you’ll no longer need to wash every day.

  • Reply Honey |

    I grew up in semi-rural Florida, Mary. I know all about that lifestyle, and I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I just thought that theming a party around it was insensitive at best. Sort of like throwing a party where you encouraged all your guests to do their best imitation of someone with a developmental disability.

  • Reply Shannon |

    I have very flat, very straight non descript brown hair. Not washing every day isn’t an option. I look like i’ve been living in a homeless shelter for 2 months if I skip a day or two of washing my hair. And besides, i just feel ICKY. I wish I could go a few days in between washings, but I just can’t. The only time I go that long is when I’m too sick to bathe. And then I look/feel so gross that no one is going to be looking at my hair anyways! LOL!

  • Reply Melissa |

    I’m with you Beks! It’s been a long process of teaching my hair how to retain extra moisture, but I am up to 5 days of no hair washing. It’s been wonderful and is saves huge on shampoo and conditioner.

    As for the racist comments…I live in the midwest, so I understand the concept of redneck. I have partaken in parties that mock as well as serious affairs that could be mistaken for a redneck party. Bottom line is, some of those rednecks are FRUGAL as all else, and if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

  • Reply Kate |

    I have thick curly hair and I wash my hair everyday. I buy excellent quality sulfate free shampoos and conditioners now that I know how much of a difference it makes. I often (gasp) straighten my hair so the products that it takes prohibit me from going more than 24 hours without a shower. That is just me though, I don’t have a dry scalp, mine can get greasy.

    I heard about the no shampoo movement, tried the poo free thing for 3 days before I couldn’t stand it anymore. To each his/her own though.

    I don’t have a problem with people’s hair unless it smells like grease as they walk by. That totally repulses me.

    I would think your hair is thanking you for the weekly shampoo more than your wallet though! If it works for ya, why change it?!

  • Reply Dolly |

    I was referring to the redneck stuff and some other things. The term redneck itself seems offensive and the kind of thing that would alienate people. I won’t even get on the confderate flag stuff. I recognize that she probably doesn’t do these things intentionally to alienate people (part of the reason I kept reading). This is why I brought it to her attention. I think in a country with so many white people sometimes it is hard for them to recognize when they are being offensive. If you don’t interact with lots of different people regularly you say things that allienate people without realizing or things that just highlight that you don’t know anything about other races. If the point is not brought up she and others will continue to allienate people and say things that don’t make sense to other races. Beks is more than welcome to take my feedback or leave it. It is just a comment I thought would help. I just wanted to share my perspective.

  • Reply Debt Free Dude |

    When I got married, my wife didn’t want me using her shampoo because she didn’t want me to use up the expensive stuff. When she realized that I can go two years on the same bottle of shampoo she relented and said I could use hers. Now we only have to have one bottle in the shower.

  • Reply Beks |

    Whew! There are lots of folks who live in the ‘no-shampoo’ world like me! For those who have fine hair, I understand. My sister has fine hair and has trouble going more than a day as well. My crazy mane looks its best 2 to 4 days in.

    Dolly – I do my best not to make comments that could be construed as political/racist. As for not interacting with multiple races, that isn’t true of me. My roomates in college were black and asian (we are still good friends) and at my work, I am a minority. I am incredibly sensitive about anything racial because it’s part of my daily life. I will not re-open the redneck party debate. It was nearly a year ago and that debate is done. If there was something else, please let me know but I am totally confused about accusations of politics or racism.

  • Reply Alexandria |

    Good post!

    I only wash my hair every 2-3 days. I have straight/flat hair – and agree with the “self fulfulling prophecy” theory. I tend to wash more in the hot/sweaty summers and have to re-train my hair a bit in the fall. Of course, using proper shampoo helps. Literally, my hair was getting really oily and so I started washing it more and more. Until a stylist noticed my oily hair and suggested that I switch shampoos. DOH. (Turns out shampoo/conditioner combos were the culprit – I no longer use).

    Of course, a lot of this stems from living in drought country. Here’s a crazy idea – you don’t have to shower every day, either. 😉

  • Reply Mary |

    I think your blog is great – informative, helpful and at appropriate times, lighthearted and funny – which is nice in this dismal economy.

    If I want to read something PC, I’ll go to cnn.com. I’m in it for the info you pass on and for the enthusiasm you throw in and the interesting debates you bring up. We are all entitled to our opinions and if we don’t like something we can stop reading. I plan to continue, thanks! Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Jen |

    @Dolly – Thanks for responding, and for speaking up. I know it isn’t always easy, and there’s the question of “Do I get myself into it, or do I just leave it alone?”

    I found the redneck party post. I can see both sides – how it could be offensive, and how it could be a celebration of a certain lifestyle. Because Beks lives in an area that’s very redneck-y, I’ll just take it as her celebrating the local lifestyle.

    However, I can see how the casual mention of confederate flags would be troubling. I had two friends in college – one a white Southerner with a “Heritage, Not Hatred” confederate flag plate on his car, and another an African American. They were both very good friends, but the white friend had a very difficult time understanding why the black friend got upset over the confederate flag. I think what it came down to was the white friend saw it as part of his heritage (and, btw, he cried the day in history they covered the end of the Civil War). He just couldn’t get it that for the black friend the confederate flag is a sign of racism and slavery, and just how much pain seeing it caused.

    As an aside, I think sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes whites (and not all whites) will disregard or minimize any claims of racism because they’re feeling defensive, as if they’re being personally accused of being racist. And this gets in the way of listening to one another.

  • Reply Lizzie |

    I also only wash max 2x per week, usually less. Caitlin’s instructions on making the transition are spot on, it doesn’t happen overnight, take it slow.

    Alexandria is on to something with the shower thing too….especially in cold weather when our skin is dried out anyway, why make it worse? I do realize some people workout and sweat, but, if I haven’t worked up a sweat and haven’t even left my house, I will definitely skip the shower.

  • Reply Jenn |

    I “wash” my hair twice a week, with two rinses. The first is 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda per cup of water (I use about a quarter cup each time), and the second is 1 tbsp apple cider vineger to a cup of water. I started this in January. I have thick, curly hair that I’ve always thought was “dry”, but January was hellish, with my hair oily and me having to wash my hair twice as often as usual. However, two full months in, my hair is soft and strong and looks (and smells) great. I’m sticking with it.

  • Reply Dolly |

    I appreciate everyone who was open to receiving my comments. It is nice to know that people are open to hearing other perspectives that they may not have expected or understand.

    Thanks again Beks for your efforts to create a great blog.

  • Reply Katie |

    I only wash my hair once to twice a week. For me it has nothing to do with whether it is oily or the budget – I just don’t feel like taking an hour out of my day EVERYDAY to style the mane. I got some shower caps from a hotel stay YEARS ago, and they work just great at keeping the water off my hair while I shower. Besides, the “look” does look better a couple days in and every hairdresser I have ever talked to says “dirty” hair styles better.

    Actually, when I was my hair, I do it at night, comb it out and go to bed. I let my hair dry naturally overnight. I haven’t used a hairdryer in years. (Although I can’t seem to part with my hairdryer. Who knows when I may NEED it!?!) When I wake up, I style it (which includes a flat iron for my frizzy/curly/wavy/straight hair combo)

    Not washing it everyday also allows me to not overprocess my hair with heat during styling – once or twice a week flat ironing is all I do. I also use a Spray in Heat Protectant to help protect my hair.

    My biggest confession is that I don’t shave my armpits (or legs, for that matter) everyday. I have really sensitive skin, and no matter what razors or shaving creams I have tried, shaving every day leads to red bumps under the pits. I only shave about once every three days and max every other day. Which means I have to remember what I plan on wearing before I get into the shower!

  • Reply Bankrupty Ben |

    I wash with soap, face, hair. I shave with it as well. Soap is super cheap and does everything. I don’t know why people use anything else (well I do it’s the marketing but jeez)

  • Reply plph56 |

    I only wash my hair every 2nd day (I have oily hair otherwise) and when I do I only use shampoo once a week and the other times I use soap like Ben.

So, what do you think ?